Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Stained Glass Window Cookies

Every year about this time I notice magazines with articles about the best cookies to bake at Christmas.  Often one of those recipes is "Stained Glass" cookies--sugar cookies with cut-outs into which you put crushed candy.  The result, at least in the magazine pictures, looks terrific and fun.  So I was really happy that Dorie's recipe for Stained Glass Cookies was chosen to be baked this December.  I had a holiday party to attend this past Saturday and planned to bake them for the party.

While at the store, I picked out lifesavers from the bulk bin.  I hadn't remembered how many Dorie said I'd need, but I selected several in different colors until I figured I had enough.  When I looked at the recipe she said about 15 and guess what?  I had exactly 15!  It was as if this was confirmation that my cookies were going to be perfect!

I made the dough, rolled it thin, put it in the refrigerator.  Everything was going as planned.

I crushed the lifesavers by color, using my heavy and excellent mortar and pestle.  They looked very pretty indeed.

I rolled out the cookies and cut them into two-inch rounds.  So far so good.

Dorie suggests cutting one or more tiny circles in each cookie, using a 1/4" icing tip.  This was the start of my problems.  I had star shaped tips about that size but that didn't work.  I tried using the tip of a grapefruit knife and that wasn't successful.  I finally used the end of the decorating bag coupler and that worked reasonably well.

Then I used the same coupler as a funnel to fill the holes with crushed candy.  I painted on some egg wash and sprinkled on sugar.

The first results out of the oven were okay, but not great.

The second tray was not so great--I forgot to set the timer and overbaked them, the candy turned brown (as Dorie warned that it would) and the cookies did too.

By the time the too-brown cookies came out of the oven, I had about one hour left before we were leaving for the holiday party.  One thing I've learned from Dorie is that if something isn't coming out as well as you'd planned, it's best to improvise!  I pulled out a simple Christmas tree cookie cutter, cut the cookies and sprinkled on some colored sanding sugar.  (I suppose I could have tried the crushed lifesavers but I really wasn't sure how the candy would melt).

I ended up with a small tray of cookies.  They tasted great and were much appreciated at the party, but weren't the cool looking stained glass cookies I had hoped for.  One thing I've learned, however, is that when someone compliments my baking, I just smile and say thank you.  It's unnecessary to reveal that the result wasn't exactly what I had in mind when I started.  And those overly browned cookies?  My husband thinks they were delicious and has been steadily eating them up.

Check out what the other Tuesdays with Dorie baked this week.  And if you don't have Baking Chez Moi  by Dorie Greenspan, tell everyone you know it would be a perfect gift.